It has long been debated as to whether or not Joseph “Skinny Joey Merlino was still the boss of the Philadelphia mafia. The recent bust of what the feds have called the ”
The recent bust of what the feds have called the “East Coast La Cosa Nostra Enterprise” which included Merlino seemingly holds the answer. In a court memo authorities allege that Merlino, from Florida, was “working in earnest to rebuild the Philadelphia crime family.” The Philly mafia has seen somewhat of a resurgence in the last few years the most made men on the streets since the 1980s. Now the question many are asking is if Merlino is convicted what impact would that have if any on the hierarchy of the current Philadelphia mob.
According to reports and mafia sources, the one time semi-retired Joseph Ligambi has resumed his role as acting boss with longtime Merlino pal Steven Mazzone acting as underboss. Joseph “Chickie” Ciancaglini rounds out the hierarchy as the families consigliere a unit that has kept the peace between varying factions. The 1980s Scarfo era guys led by Phil Narducci and Joseph “Joey Pung” Pungitore were never fans of Merlino which many believed could fracture the current harmony. Even with the lingering bad blood, the Merlino led Cosa Nostra family has found a way to keep the recent peace and get back to business.
“Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi”
Now with Merlino possibly in line for an extended prison term if convicted the hierarchy of the mafia family in Philly may be in for another shake-up. If Merlino is set to once again be a guest of the government could he lose his long-held grip over the mob family? Ligambi and Mazzone are reportedly respected across the board including the 80s era mobsters so they could seemingly hold things together for Merlino as they did during his last prison stretch. But the void at the top may be an opening for leaders of the Scarfo era faction like Narducci or anyone else to make a play for the big chair or at least push for an end to the Merlino era if they so desired. Perhaps even an overly ambitious guy like George Borgesi who was recently bumped back up to capo could make some waves.
With the stability of the family increasing and business smoothly moving along of late everyone involved may decide it better to leave things as is and not risk upsetting the new balance. But this is the Philly mafia and history has proven this family is extremely unpredictable and could become unraveled at any point and time. It will definitely be something worth keeping an eye on as the East Coast LCN Enterprise case moved forward.